Farnborough 2012 – the real story
The first thing you need to know is don’t arrive at the airshow shagged out from jetlag, too much travel and partying with friends in town from over the other side of the world. The second thing is that it is almost impossible not to do so. So on to point 3 – remember that almost everyone else is in exactly the same boat. Hence you’ll get some singularly good quotes at press conferences.
Yesterday saw me make a dozen or so calls on the train from London to Farnborough confirming meetings – at least 50% of which were bound to end in no shows because both parties were running late thanks to previous meetings running late – or hastily prepared affairs whereby both parties are frantically trying to remember pertinent pieces of information. The two gentlemen opposite me overheard, so enquired whether I was going to FIA. “Oh yes,” I said politely, “And what are you guys doing at the show?” “We’re representing the Canadian Government” came the response. “Really?” I said, “And what country is that from then?”
For some strange reason they trusted my judgement when I confirmed that the train had arrived at Farnborough Main and hopped off. I make that journey at least a dozen times a year and was pleasantly surprised to see British Rail had added a third platform and expanded it for the Olympics. I remarked as such to one of the station wallahs. He informed me I was in Woking and hastily bundled me back onto the train. I do hope my fellow travellers made it, too.
The day turned into a blur of meetings, including an ill-advised session in the media centre with my client HMG Aerospace, for whom I edit Inflight magazine. The great and the good of aviation journalism interrupted us constantly – including one man who let me know the fact I’d told his wife I’d met her at a party last year somewhere exotic – she was dancing with him – had landed him totally in the doghouse. Tiredness you see…
…afternoon culminated in a two hour lunch at the Aviator hotel on site, watching the airshow. I was with renowned defence journalist, close personal friend and total kidult Jon Lake, so had a proper commentary on the fast grey aircraft with afterburners. Along with some pithy political points that were totally lost on me. I was far more comfortable talking Hong Kong business aviation with Carlos Gomez, Tag’s Asia head.
Day 2 I brought my super bright and efficient PA Fernanda with me. Her first airshow…we started the day with Bombardier’s head of comms for business aviation, Danielle Boudreau, who arranged for us to go see the Global 6000, making its Farnborough debut. Was happy to see my mate Johnny at the static park. His job is to go round the world making sure that no winglets are chipped and there are APU’s etc on site. Last time we saw each other was in Shanghai in the sun, so we had a good bitch about the rotten July weather.
Whirlwind of meetings/interviews later, including stealing cake and champagne from East Midlands Aerospace Consortium ostensibly for the award winning team picture for Arabian Aerospace. (we won best digital media at the RAES on Sunday). A quick meeting with Allan Pelligrini – ceo of Thales and finally schlepped over to see Ernie Edwards – Embraer’s head of Executive Aviation. Results of that one will be online at Arabian Aerospace this weekend.
Then home, footsore and head shot to pieces. Wee respite tomorrow as I try to get on with real life, but back with a vengeance on Thurs.
What’s that you say – you want headlines?
Well go here then:
or even here!